The partial conversion of Downtown Brooklyn’s historic Offerman building into rentals has been in the works, at least as an idea, since 2005. Its projected 2014 opening has come and gone, and the majestic 121 rentals still remain elusive. But a glimmer of hope: a new New York Times profile of the development says that the rentals will finally come to market this spring (and if the Times says it, it must be true.)
The apartments will take the building’s top five floors, stacked above its retail tenants that currently include Nordstrom Rack and Old Navy. The price of the rentals, studios to three-bedrooms, will range from $2,900 to about $5,000 per month. They’ll include architecturally significant historic details like restored cast iron columns, glorious half-moon windows, and, in the common areas, floors made of reclaimed wood rafters.
Adele Perera, a Senior Project Manager at architect GreenbergFarrow, told the Times that one of the reasons the restoration and conversion took so long was because of the strange ways the building’s historic details had been masked in the decades leading up to the conversion. “There were so many amazing features that had been covered up, so it took time to bring it back to its original glory,” she said.
The building at the intersection of Fulton and Duffield streets was built between 1880 and 1883 by Brooklyn Sugar Refinery president Henry Offerman, whose name will be lent to the apartments known as Offerman House. The Romanesque Revival building was famously home to Martin’s, a high-end department store that shuttered in 1979, before it was dubbed an individual landmark in 2005.
The Offerman House is being developed by United American Land, a family-based company run by brothers Albert, Jason, and Jody Laboz. In an interview with the Times, Jody said sentimental value determined that the apartments would be rentals rather than condos. The building came into the family in 1980. “It’s an asset we’d like to keep in our family,” he said. United American Land is also responsible for the building that houses the world’s loudest H&M next door.
An outdated teaser site for the Offerman House, which will take the address of 248 Duffield Street, refers to the development as a “sophisticated playground designed for tasteful New York living,” a tag phrase indistinguishable from every other development in the city dating from the past five years. The site, however, shows off some lovely, if not dramatic, views of the building mid-renovation.